Iraqi commanders who have trapped Islamic State (IS) militants in the center of Tikrit say they expect to recapture all of town from the militants by March 17.
The massively outnumbered IS militants are surrounded on all sides and trapped within a few districts of the town center.
But they have slowed the assault against them using snipers, booby traps, and thousands of bombs planted across the city.
A combined force of about 30,000 government troops, Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia fighters, and allied local Sunni tribal fighters have been advancing on Tikrit during the past week.
They broke Tikrit’s outer defenses on March 11, but the advance has slowed in recent days while reinforcements for the government-led forces have been brought into the urban combat zone.
Shi’ite militia fighters have been accused of serious crimes and abuses in reconquered areas, including revenge attacks on Sunnis.